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News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news and current news events with host Craig Melvin. New.

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Nelson Mandela 41, South Africa 24, Mandela 23, Detroit 17, United States 16, Michigan 12, Iran 10, Craig 9, Washington 8, America 8, Chicago 7, Nestle 7, Nbc 7, Johannesburg 7, U.s. 6, Msnbc 6, North Korea 6, Mr. Mandela 5, Israel 5, Obama 5,
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  MSNBC    MSNBC Live    News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news  
   and current news events with host Craig Melvin. New.  

    December 7, 2013
    11:00 - 1:01pm PST  

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anks, mom. [ female announcer ] do you have enough pillsbury crescents? i'm delighted to be home. it's been a great homecoming. thank you all for the support we got. >> homecoming day, good saturday afternoon to you. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc. moments ago, freedom for the american war veteran held in north korea for more than a month now. what's the first thing that he's going to do when he gets home? we're live in california. it felt like my car was kind of weaving back and forth just because it was so slick. >> you can't get any traction.
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you try to change lanes and you're going sideways. >> america on ice. a deadly arctic chill is impacting millions of people coast to coast. a second storm is forming right now. we're live with the forecast. and beyond borders, how nelson mandela influenced civil rights leaders here and his complicated relationship with the united states. also at this hour, on the record right now, president obama is wrapping up remarks about israel during a time of tension over iran. these are some live pictures. the president literally just wrapping up. more from the white house. and the budget breakthrough, a rare bipartisan plan is in the works right now. i'll ask a gop congresswoman if they'll make deadline day. there will be a lot of friendships made and other kids will have a friend to play with. >> and the buddy bench.
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one second-grader's idea to solve loneliness is today's big idea. a lot to get to. we start this hour with the release of 85-year-old american veteran merrill newman. newman arrived at san francisco international airport about two hours ago to applause. he was holding his wife's hand. the north korean government released newman late last night. they'd been holding him in the country since october. as you might imagine, newman says he is thrilled to be home. >> it's been a great homecoming. and i'm tired but ready to be with my family now. thank you all for the support we got and very much appreciate it. >> noelle walker is at san francisco international airport. what more do we know about the circumstances that led to merrill newman's release? >> reporter: we know very few things. we know that north korea released him because of his age.
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he's 85 years old. and because of his health. early into him being held, his family was able to get some medication to him. medication that he needed. so we know that he has a health condition, that his family was concerned about. they certainly have to be very relieved to see him back here today, craig. >> what did he say his first order of business was going to be? >> reporter: something very simple. he said he was looking forward to taking his shoes off. when i asked him as he was leaving in this crush of reporters, would you ever want to go back? he said, i don't think so. >> really quickly, noelle, american kenneth bae still being detained there in north korea, has been there for more than a year now. any idea whether this is going to have any effect on bae's release? >> reporter: there is certainly that hope out there and a lot of people have spoken up about that. in hopes that that is something that could happen in the future.
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but there's so little known about what transpired to allow merrill newman to be released -- yesterday was when he was released -- we don't really know the details leading up to this release to know what might be able to lead to other americans being released from being detained in north korea right now. we know when newman was detained, the north korean authorities said nothing until his release when they mentioned something about his role in the korean war decades ago. >> yeah, nbc's noelle walker live for us at san francisco international airport, noelle, thank you. after a week of promoting improvements to the health care website, today president obama turns his attention abroad. at the forum on middle east policy in washington, d.c. the president outlined the administration's plan to curb iran's nuclear program. he just wrapped up his comments a few minutes ago. >> ultimately my goal as president of the united states,
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something that i've said publicly and privately and shared everywhere i've gone, is to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. but what i've also said is the best way for us to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon is for a comprehensive, verifiable diplomatic resolution. if at the end of six months it turns out that we can't make a deal, we're no worse off and in fact we have greater leverage with the international community to continue to apply sanctions and even strengthen them. >> we get more now from nbc white house correspondent kristen welker. kristen, this interim deal with iran really seemed to dominate the conversation today. what stood out to you? >> reporter: well, craig, i thought one of the most interesting moments this afternoon was when mr. sabon asked president obama why is this nuclear deal different than all other nuclear deals which have failed in the past? the president said, we just
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don't know yet, this is a test. that's the white house's central message. this is a six-month test to see if iran is serious about scaling back their nuclear program. one of the key pieces of this, of course, is that inspectors are going to be allowed to go into the country and to actually determine whether or not iran is serious. so that will be one of the big determinates about iran o's lev of seriousness in terms of going forward with this deal. president obama also pointing to the fact that of $100 billion worth of sanctions, they are easing about $7 billion of those sanctions, leaving in the strong and sort of core parts of the sanctions program. of course, that, not enough to convince skeptics, israelis, a majority of them say this deal is not a good enough deal. prime minister benjamin netanyahu also saying that this deal isn't strong enough, doesn't do enough to curb iran's nuclear program. he is going to speak at the
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sabon center tomorrow, by the way, craig. we'll likely get a very different take on this deal that's come together from him. but i think that president obama's goal today was to speak to israelis and certainly to some of the skeptics here within the united states. a lot of them in congress who have said the deal doesn't go far enough. >> nbc's kristen welker at the white house, we're going to come back to you later. thank you, kristen. meanwhile, a deadly and dangerous winter storm system continues to make its way across the country. at least ten people are dead so far. travel has become near impossible in many places. many areas are seeing whiteout conditions and thick sheets of ice are on the roadways. in dallas alone, a total of 70 accidents were reported overnight. take a look at that there. at the airports, meanwhile, hundreds of flights have been grounded or delayed. you can take a look at that map there and see some of the major airports across this country right now. some 450 delays, just 13 cancellations so far. we should note, those numbers continue to fluctuate.
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nbc's mark potter is live for us in memphis this afternoon. one of the areas that had been hit pretty hard. mark, what's the scene like there and how are folks dealing with the storm? >> reporter: well, i think you said it right there. most people are just sort of dealing with it here. that's what we can tell. a lot of people are staying inside. it's pretty cold, 27 degrees. this is the famed beale street in memphis. the roads are clear. earlier there was a big crowd down there as people were walking in to go to a basketball game. there is a sense of disappointment. there was a big marathon scheduled for today. 22,000 runners coming in to support the st. jude children's hospital. but last night, emergency managers canceled that race because of safety concerns. the forecast here for tonight from about 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. tomorrow calls for potentially more sleet and ice on the roads. road crews are going to be out early putting brine on the
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roads. extra crews are on standby. there will be more activity tonight. people are just urged to be careful and stay off those roads unless they absolutely need to be there. >> nbc's mark potter for us live in memphis, tennessee, on beale street, good to see you. a live look right now at south africa where millions are remembering nelson mandela. we'll have a live report on the memorial plans that are under way right now. also ahead -- >> essentially we're saying, you need to buy rape insurance. >> we believe that abortion is not health care and that tax dollars should not be going to pay to subsidize abortions. >> the people are dumbfounded that this is even before it at this point. >> some are calling it rape insurance. michigan may ban abortion coverage even in cases of rape and incest. also the jobless rate falls
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to a five-year low. why some say now is the time to find a new job in this country. we'll talk about it on the other side of this break. this is msnbc. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you: if every u.s. home replaced one light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, the energy saved could light how many homes? 1 million? 2 million? 3 million? the answer is... 3 million homes. by 2030, investments in energy efficiency could help americans save $300 billion each year. take the energy quiz. energy lives here. life with crohn's disease ois a daily game of "what if's". what if my abdominal pain and cramps come back? what if the plane gets delayed? what if i can't hide my symptoms? what if?
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the latest jobs report shows good signs for the economy. the unemployment rate dropped to 7% in november while 203,000 jobs were created. down from october's unemployment rate of 7.3%. these numbers come as many job seekers are preparing to take the traditional pause in their hubt for work in time for the holidays. but that may be a bad idea. john challenger is the ceo of challenger, gray and christmas.
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zachary karabell is a cnbc contributor. he's a writer as well. he's written a book as well. john, let me start with you. many folks put off their job search during the holidays thinking that companies don't hire during this time period. why is that not the right thing to do? >> first of all, the data doesn't support it. last november, over 4.66 million people found jobs in november, just slightly down in december. so it is a time when employers especially in this kind of 24/7/365 business environment we're in, they're always hiring. they always have issues. so the last thing you want to do is put your search on hold. the very fact that a lot of people are doing that, a lot of your competitors who want those jobs that you do are taking some time off, gives you a real edge.
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>> zach, 203,000 jobs, what kinds of jobs are we talking about here? >> what we're talking about for the holidays, a lot of these are retail jobs and there will be more hiring ahead of that, as far as people are still going into malls and brick and mortar stores and not doing e-commerce. but a lot of those jobs they may get now they may find they're not going to have in february. people hire ahead of the heavy-duty christmas shopping season. a lot of these are definitely not what you would call great high-paying jobs, maybe entry level jobs. one of the reasons we paid so much attention this week to the minimum wage debate, mcdonald's and walmart, they may be good if you're 19 years old and trying to get a good into the labor market. but they're not necessarily careers. >> we continue to talk oftentimes ad nauseam about these job reports that come out
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once a month now. how accurate is the monthly unemployment report? how accurate is it now in this new economy? how accurate of a gauge is it as to how well this economy's doing? >> john is a real expert here. the reality is these numbers constantly get revised and sometimes very dramatically. if it's 100,000 jobs created, it could be six months later, oh, it was 200,000 or it could be zero. the economy is not going to lose jobs when the jobs reports are showing we're creating them. they're not good at things like self-employment, entrepreneurs. >> john, for those people looking for jobs that are not low wage, who's hiring? where are the jobs? >> unemployment for college-educated workers is below 4%. so when you look at that 7% number, it represents a lot of
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people who have not gotten their high school education or maybe just have a high school education. if you have a college degree, we're seeing job growth in professional and business services, certainly in engineering which continues to be kind of a real driver of jobs, health care is net hire job creator over the last several years and hires nurses and other technicians. there are good jobs being created. when you look at this total number, say, 200,000-plus this month, certainly a good percentage of them were in the lower wage category. but then we want -- those people who are out of work having the hardest time, need those jobs, too. >> we saw the fight over raising the minimum wage heat up this week. you wrote an interesting piece about the rise of income inequality.
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what would raising the minimum wage do in this country to close the income gap? do we even know? >> first of all, i'm all in favor of having this discussion about wages and equality. the minimum wage, only 5% of the entire workforce gets paid at the minimum wage or below. 20 states have a state minimum wage significantly higher than the federal one. we saw that with debates over the past week. seattle raised it to $15. new jersey raised it. the actual number of people that this potential raise would effect is really, really small. >> why are we having that conversation? >> because it's an easy way to have a hard conversation. what should we do about inequality? it's really easy to go, go from $7.25 to $10 an hour. politicians can say, i've done something. the harder conversation is how to you create income and create jobs that have a potential for income and those don't have easy legislative answers. i think that's a failure of our political and media culture. it's much easier to talk about that than it is to talk about these other issues.
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>> we're going to keep talking about that. john challenger, zachary karabell, thanks to both of you. president obama and the first family flipped the switch last night on the 91st annual white house christmas tree. but the tree topper wasn't the only star of the night. aretha franklin, there she is right there, the queen of soul yourself. also mariah carey among the musical guests who helped inject holiday spirit into the crowd. you're watching msnbc. [ female announcer ] ladies and gentlemen
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a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. celebrex can be taken with or without food. and it's not a narcotic. you and your doctor should balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure or when nsaids are taken for long periods. nsaids, like celebrex, increase the chance of serious skin or allergic reactions
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or stomach and intestine problems, such as bleeding and ulcers, which can occur without warning and may cause death. patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers. don't take celebrex if you have bleeding in the stomach or intestine, or had an asthma attack, hives, other allergies to aspirin, nsaids or sulfonamides. get help right away if you have swelling of the face or throat, or trouble breathing. tell your doctor your medical history. and find an arthritis treatment for you. visit celebrex.com and ask your doctor about celebrex. for a body in motion. with just one week left on the congressional calendar, there is still no budget deal for the 2014-2015 fiscal years. so are house leaders going to work this weekend? paul ryan and patty murray are back at home this weekend in wisconsin and washington states respectively. are we nearing another government shutdown?
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tennessee's republican congresswoman marsha blackburn sits on the senate house budget committee. good to see you. thanks for spending some time with me. you sit on the budget committee. as you keep an eye on the ryan/murray budget conference, trying to hammer out a deal, what are you most hoping to see come out of it and what are you most willing to compromise on? >> i think that we are all hopeful that they are going to reach a budget number and be able to come to that agreement so that the appropriators can start building that budget out. that's what we're hopeful. a couple of things that we would like to see is dealing with the long-term system at growth that you see through the trust funds and through the entitlements. craig, one of the things we know is with the work we've done through sequestration, you're going to see a growth in discretionary spending that will be about 17% of the budget. but when you look at the trust
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funds which are medicare and social security, earned benefits there, and medicaid, which is the largest of the entitlements, you're looking at a 79% growth. and of course that is over a ten-year period of time, which is the budget window. >> you want to see entitlement reform? >> we need to put that on the table and say, how do we come together for the good of the american people, for future generations, for our solvency and get this out-of-control spending under control and do that in a way that is going to be helpful to getting this debt under control? it's not fair to future generations to have this debt. >> house democrats are drawing a line in the sand. nancy pelosi, chris van holland said they won't support a budget agreement that does not include a one-year extension of unemployment insurance. how do you feel about that? >> well, i find it very unfortunate. and when you talk to employers,
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they are telling you that they have great concerns about making that extension. we are talking to employers all across the country -- let me give you an example. >> what about the employees? what about the 1.3 million employees whose unemployment benefits would expire? >> that's the concern. and one of the things that we are hearing from so many people is that they have jobs right now that they would like to fill. and we want to see those back into the marketplace so that that unemployment rate comes down. and when you look at the numbers that came out yesterday, you have to say, what kind of difference is going to be impacted, what are you going to impact if you look at making this extension? is it going to extend that elevated rate of unemployment? this president has had the highest rates of unemployment in modern history. what we want to do is get that
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down. >> congresswoman, it's also -- it would also probably be fair to point out that when the president took office, we were in the midst of a legitimate economic crisis. it's also probably fair to point out that the stock market has enjoyed its greatest run in history under this administration, no? >> well, craig, i'm not trying to argue. >> i'm not asking you to argue. i'm asking you to acknowledge the point. >> what i'm saying is what we want is what is going to be best for america. >> everybody wants that. >> we're saying we want to get back to work full time. >> at least acknowledge that last point. >> what we want to do is have -- what we would like to do is have the democrats join us, have the senate join us. everybody needs to sit at the table and have a very good conversation about how we address jobs growth, address the economy -- >> what's your plan? what would you do right now if
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you could wave a magic wand to create jobs? and please don't say, repeal obama care. that's what you were going to say, isn't it? >> no, it isn't. >> okay. >> i think what you have to do is say, we have this debt that is out here that is burdening every single decision that we make. it is a threat to our nation's security, according to admiral mullen. >> what do you do about it? >> this is what you do. what you do is begin to reduce what you're spending, just what every family and small business does. you get your spending under control first. that means that we deal with discretionary and entitlement spending. the second thing you do is deal with regulations. >> which regulations specifically? >> epa, let's start with epa. all of those rules the epa is trying to enforce. you look at the fda with the
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difficulty that some of our innovators are having with new drugs and trying to get through that. you look at the ftc going after overreach and regulation with piano teachers and so many other areas. >> you mentioned piano teachers -- >> i've got a list. >> i don't even have time to ask you about piano teachers. tennessee congresswoman marsha blackburn, thank you so much. >> thank you. ahead, a live look right now in johannesburg as millions remember nelson mandela. we'll have a live report from south africa coming up. also, what you did not know about him. why did the united states keep him on a terrorist list for so many years? and a buddy bench, meet the kid who's basically making sure everyone has a friend. [ male announcer ] did you know
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today since the death of nelson mandela, south africans continue to celebrate the life of their legendary leader. nbc's ron allen is outside mandela's home in johannesburg. these celebrations have been going on for days now. walk us through what's going to be happening in the week to come. >> reporter: craig, this is just the beginning. it's a huge outpouring of emotion here and in hundreds of other places across the country. we're just down the street from nelson mandela's home across there. i can remember being here on so many occasions over the years where there was a vigil, wondering how he was doing. as you know, he was ill for many years. and now the inevitable has finally come. this is the beginning. there are events that will take place over the next week or so culminating on the 15th with a state funeral in nelson
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mandela's home on the eastern cape, part of this country, several hours flight time from here. in the meantime, before that, there will be a day of national reflection and prayer tomorrow on sunday. then tuesday, a huge memorial service at a football stadium, a soccer stadium that seats some 80,000 people here in johannesburg. that's when world leaders from around the globe will come here, including president obama, former presidents clinton, bush and carter as well, a huge delegation from the united states. then nelson mandela's body will lie in state at the union buildings here in pretoria, the capital, for several days. and then again, the state funeral on sunday. during that entire week, there will be events, small, big, remembrances of all sorts. it's hard to understate the significance -- historical significance of this event, of this moment for this country and the rest of the world. and here as has been the case for the past two nights, a huge outpouring of emotion, a lot of
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celebration. but the mood is mixed. some somber, a lot of remembrances. this is the beginning of a very long good-bye to nelson mandela by this country and the world. >> nbc's ron allen live for us in johannesburg, ron, thank you so much. as south africans prepare to bury nelson mandela, his death has ignited a fresh round of questions over what his true legacy should be. civil rights icon, terrorist, communist? here to have that conversation with me, former u.s. ambassador to south africa donald gibbs, msnbc analyst michael steele and national urban league president and ceo mark morio. michael, let me start with you down there in d.c. you have this opinion piece up on the grie grio, you say, mand
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vision of equality became a galvanizing force of change for the rest of us. as the first african-american to lead the rnc, what is it about mandela that got so many south africans to back his cause? >> i think it was sort of a shift over time, a realization that the core of his message was not that really of violence. people misunderstand in the early days of his struggle against the apartheid regime, it was nonviolent. he was very much trying to walk the walk of a gandhi or martin luther king. it wasn't until the government resisted that with its own level of violence that he took on that mantle. but i think people realized over time the core message of mandela, when he left that jail cell and he said, i can leave bitter and angry and hateful but then i realize i'm not really free if i do.
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and i think people began to realize that what he was about ultimately was taking south africa to a new level, a new space. and he was able to do that in time. but as you note, many regimes, many governments saw him and the anc as terrorists and responded accordingly. >> one of the things that's always struck me about nelson mandela's life was here was a guy who could have had the ultimate chip on his shoulder. and not once did you ever see or hear or read about public bitterne bitterness. nelson mandela never displayed any sort of public bitterness. >> i think nelson mandela, consistent with martin luther king and gandhi and others, i think recognized when he emerged from that prison cell that if he were going to lead south africa, he needed a message not only of reconciliation but of a multiracial south africa. and he did a great job in
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presenting that message. and i think he surprised people that when he emerged from 27 years of imprisonment, i don't think anyone can imagine what it would be like to spend that much time in a narrow jail cell, to be cut off and then to come back and be so lucid, so politically astute, so politically aware and really emerge as one of the great leaders of our times. >> donald, when we talk about mandela and his relationship with this country, with the united states, one facet that often seems to get a bit overlooked is his outspoken opposition to this country's involvement in iraq. i want to play a clip of nelson mandela speaking in johannesburg back in 2003. take a listen. >> both the bushes are undermining an idea which was sponsored by their predecessors. they do not care. is it because the secretary
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general of the united nations is now a black man? if there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the united states of america. they don't care. >> donald, how would you characterize the relationship of nelson mandela with the united states and its leaders? >> actually, it was a very positive relationship. i think president bush, president obama all had very deep conversations, president clinton, with nelson mandela. and they all took his example and tried to figure out how do they embody it. his legacy to the united states is huge as it is to the rest of the world. and i think he taught us that we need to rise above the petty politics that can divide us. and i think his lesson is more relevant today than ever and
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whether it's in congress or in syria that we can all learn from his example. >> marc, here's the thing, he was not afraid to speak truth to power. not just in his country but in this country as well. >> it's so critical to remember and understand the evolution of the relationship between the official position of the united states and the emerging republic of south africa. because in the 1970s and in the 1980s, united states official foreign policy sided with the apartheid regime. it was president reagan that vetoed sanctions which really came about because of student activism and community activism. i was proud to be a part of those efforts. the divestment efforts. that movement helped to change the position of the united states government. by the time bill clinton became president and george bush became president and president obama
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took office, south africa had become a mature democracy or a new democracy, if you will. so the relationship certainly emerged. but i think what you saw with nelson mandela is he was a principled friend. so he was one who was not unwilling to criticize any nation or any individual. we're even learning now that he criticized his own successor as president of the republic of south africa. so he was a giant. >> michael, i want to ask you quickly about this nbcnews.com article that a lot of folks may not be aware of, this part of the article. mandela and other anc officials remained on the terror watch list even as president bush welcomed mandela to the white house back in 1990 because of what was described as a bureaucratic snafu. their names were kept on the list until 2008. >> yeah. >> why is that characterization
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of nelson mandela -- of him being a terrorist -- why is that characterization itself complicated? >> i think it's less a characterization of the man and more of the association of the man with an organization that as i noted earlier had begun to engage in violence in order to get the attention of the de clerk administration at the time and to press its point about freeing the people of south africa. i think it really speaks volumes about the tenuousness that underlied the relationship between the united states and mandelaened a the anc that up until 2008 that he and this organization were still classified as terrorists. all that's long since -- in the last five years, been car wrecked. but it stel speaks to that undercurrent of, are we really sure this guy is all he says he is, is this organization really not a terrorist organization? the united states has always been hesitant, that cold war
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attitude lingering still, in stepping away from that particular brink. but i'm glad they did because we're now on the right side of history. >> donald gibbs, marc morial and michael steele, thanks to all of you for joining me this afternoon. appreciate your time. we'll be right back. i like to mix things up a bit with grands mini pot pies. only four ingredients. and a few easy steps. weeknight dinner in a flash. and my family devours them. pillsbury grands biscuits. make dinner pop. [ male announcer ] rocky had no idea why dawn was gone for so long... ...but he'd wait for her forever, and would always be there with the biggest welcome home. for a love this strong, dawn only feeds him iams. with 2x the meat of other leading brands... ...to help keep rocky's body as strong as a love that never fades.
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a cure for loneliness. that's today's big idea. second-grader christian bucks designed something called a buddy bench. he designed it for his school during recess, any student can go and sit on it looking for someone to play with. the bench is already creating friendships and it could even prevent some bullying down the road. christian bucks and his parents, allison and justin, join me live now. christian, good to see you, congratulations. first of all, how did you come
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up with the idea for the buddy bench? >> well, my dad asked me if i felt comfortable moving to another country. and so we looked on the computer and in one of the pictures i saw the buddy bench and then i thought it would be a great thing to have at our school. >> and how does it work? >> well, it's for kids who are feeling lonely and don't have anything to do. they just go sit on the buddy bench and then somebody will come and ask if they want to play or talk. >> and have you started to see people sit on the bench? have you seen lots of folks sit on the bench yet? >> it's actually not on our playground yet. they just put it on our playground. so it will be open for business after the weekend. >> and what a grand opening it's going to have.
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christian, what was the response -- justin, what was the response from the school initially? >> they were very represeceptiv the idea. we have a wonderful school, wonderful students, faculty and staff. mr. miller, the principal, welcomed the idea with open arms. he got christian involved in picking out the bench and working up a presentation to the school board and to the other students at the school. and rolling out this idea to be implemented at round town. >> allison, you have to be quite the proud mom. >> absolutely. >> what's the next step, you think? what's the next iteration of the buddy bench? >> well, we've really been -- everything has moved very quickly since this got out and we're just excited beyond belief and hope that other schools around the country will adopt this idea because it really just
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creates more compassionate and empathetic kids. that makes the whole world a better place. >> christian, what have been the reactions from some of your friends at school? >> they're just really happy that they can now like have some more friends to play with. they're really happy for me. they're just saying, great job. >> great job indeed, my man. great job indeed. christian bucks and his parents there. christian, good luck with the grand opening, with the grand unveiling on monday. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, craig. >> saturday's big idea. it's a buddy bench. do you have a big idea that's making a difference? all you have to do to tell us about it is shoot us an e-mail. there it is right there. bigidea.msnbc@nbcuni.com.
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cass used to sell his tie die shirts to big box stores. he even opened a factory in guatemala to keep costs down. now that factory is closed and cass is making more money by giving up most of those big deals.
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happening right now in
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michigan, the state legislature is considering a petition that would ban private or public insurance plans from covering abortions. essentially creating a law that requires a woman to buy a separate abortion coverage policy if she thinks she might need one in the future. the petition has nearly 300,000 signatures. it was backed by the group right to life of michigan. >> basically the impetus behind this is that we really believe that abortion is not health care. and that tax dollars should not be going to pay to subsidize abortions. that's our takeaway message. >> michigan state senate minority leader gretchen whitworth opposes the petition. i would like to note that we invited right to life of michigan and several of the plans republican supporters who joined this conversation but they are not available. 4.3% of michigan voters signed the petition that is being considered. how did this come about?
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>> well, right to life earlier this year pushed this initiative. and our republican governor who is a conservative with whom i don't always agree saw that this was too extreme and he vetoed this because what this does is it would require a special rider even in the case of rape. you'd have to buy rape insurance if you wanted to have an abortion and have your insurance cover it. a republican governor vetoed it this past spring. now right to life has found a loophole and they've gone about collecting 4% of our voters' signatures to do an end run and bypass the governor and the voters. it is a complete sham of democracy. and 96% of our state needs to have a voice in this. i think this needs to go to the ballot. >> this is something i found striking in the morning editorial meeting. eight other states right now also have laws restricting
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private insurance coverage of abortions. those are the states right there on the map. we've highlighted them for you. where could we see it crop up next? >> ironically, the affordable care act drew attention to the fact that there were private insurance plans covering abortion. before that it was under the radar. most people don't know if their insurance covers abortions. the moment the conversation around the amendment in the house from the plans under the affordable care act started, it got the attention of the right to life movements in states. since the '70s, they've also in most states banned medicaid coverage for abortions. they're coming for every state. >> speaking of the affordable care act, right to life of michigan did send this statement. i'm going to read it to you in part. we feel strongly that abortion is not true health care, abortion kills a living, developing human being. the affordable care act specifically gives states the authority to decide this
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question. how has obama care helped fuel the pro life community? >> unfortunately, it's more about the fact that since 2010 in part because of anti-obama sentiment in states they've taken over state legislatures and had the power to implement an agenda that's been in place for many decades. in michigan, republicans control both chambers and the governor's mansion. all of the state where is you're seeing these sweeping abortion restrictions, including in michigan, other kinds of restrictions, that has been because of the wave of republican takeovers of stayshouses. >> senator, if this becomes law, does it take effect immediately and at this point, what are the chances that it becomes law? >> it would take effect immediately. and unfortunately you see 4% of our population is putting something before us that we may never even get an opportunity to vote on as women. this would apply to 100% of women and all of our girls in the state of michigan.
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so i think that our goal right now is to get people to speak out. we have beaten them down when they pushed anti-bullying legislation, that actually gave a license to bully to bullies. we can win this but only if the voters speak out. the as a woman and mom of two girls, that is our mission. >> i just found the whole thing mind boggling. a big thanks to both of you. a deadly winter storm putting the country in a deep freeze, another system right behind that one. we're going to check in on today's conditions. also, freedom for an american war vet. he returned home today after more than a month of captivity
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it is in america's national security interests, not just israel's national security interests or the region's national security interests, to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. we do have to test, is the possibility that we can resolve this issue diplomatic? >> push for peace. good saturday afternoon. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc. just moments ago, president obama opened up about u.s. relations with israel during a time of tense talks over iran. we're live at the white house. here it comes! >> uh-oh! >> that didn't sound good. slip and slide, right now, drivers are fighting a deadly
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winter storm moving across much of this country. a second storm is brewing. we're live with the forecast. and remembering mandela. south africa is in the middle of a ten-day celebration of his life. we are live in johannesburg as well. we'll also take a look at madiba's influence on america's only black president. plus, homecoming, the american war vet held captive in north korea lands back on u.s. soil after nearly six weeks in captivity. the best option available, those are the words that president obama used just about an hour ago to defend the recent nuclear agreement with iran. the comments came during a foreign policy conversation at a washington think tank forum. nbc's kristen welker is live for us at the white house. kristen, did the president successfully sell his deal today? >> reporter: well, craig, i think that remains to be seen.
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but that is what he was doing. he was trying to sell this deal to the skeptics here in the united states, but also to israelis, a lot of israeli journalists in the audience there today. if you look at the polls inside israel, a lot of folks don't like this deal. so president obama trying to convince them of the merits of this deal, making the point that, look, it is a test. it's a six-month freeze of iran's nuclear program that will be tested by inspectors who will go into the country and determine their level of seriousness. he also made the point that of the $100 billion worth of sanctions, this scales back about $7 billion of those, leaving the main sanctions in place. here's a little bit more of what he had to say this afternoon. take a listen. >> if we could create an option in which iran eliminated every single nut and bolt of their nuclear program and foreswore
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the possibility of ever having a nuclear program and for that matter got rid of all its military capabilities, i would take it. but i want to make sure everybody understands, that particular option is not available. >> reporter: so president obama making the point that this is a realistic deal. as you heard him say at the top of the broadcast, craig, he believes this is in the best interest of the united states and also israel and the broader region. but there continue to be skeptics here in the u.s. senate and of course prime minister benjamin netanyahu is going to address that same forum tomorrow. he will likely have a very different take on the iran deal as he has over the past several weeks. we should also note that secretary john kerry will be speaking at the saban forum a little bit later on this afternoon. he'll talk about iran but also of course the mideast peace process. he's just returned from the region and says he's made a fair amount of progress on that point. we'll be listening closely to
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what he has to say as well. >> kristen welker, 1600 pennsylvania avenue, kristen, thank you. topping the saturday headlines, 85-year-old merrill newman is back in california. the korean war veteran was released by the north korean government late last night due to his advanced age and a heart condition. >> i'm very glad to be on my way home. appreciate the tolerance the drpk government has given to me to be on my way. >> ten people are confirmed dead so far as a massive winter storm wreaks havoc across this country. another big storm, as you can see there, right behind it. coming up in just a few moments, we're going to get a live update on the latest weather conditions. right now, though, a live look at south africa where crowds continue to gather to celebrate the life of nelson mandela. appears to be a candlelight vigil there. that's where we find nbc's ron
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allen, in the crowd outside of mandela's home in the neighborhood there in johannesburg. what's the mood like there? set the stage for me because you've spent more time in south africa as a correspondent than just about anybody else i know. >> reporter: the mood changes, craig. i think it's going to continue to rise and fall and shift as the week goes on. it's going to be a very emotional week. i just got here a couple of hours ago. it's the first time i've been here in a couple of months outside the house, for the first time since mandela's passing. i wondered what it would be like. and people are somber. they're celebratory. but this is the beginning of a very long emotional week of events that are happening here and across this country and for that matter, around the world. it all culminates in the state funeral next sunday, the 15th, at mandela's ancestral home in the eastern cape, ironically one of the poorest parts of this country. that's where mandela started his
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life and where he rose from to be the president and perhaps the most respected world statesman of our time, certainly. tomorrow is sunday, a day of reflection and prayer. there will be services across the country. tuesday, there's a huge memorial service at a football stadium that seats some 80,000 people. there will be world leaders from across the globe there, including president obama, former presidents bush, clinton and carter, others from across the united states, celebrities. this is just an event that is going to draw an incredible number of people to come here to pay their respects, just a huge moment in history that will be just packed with emotion because of the passing of mandela. across johannesburg, across this country, there are gatherings like this. here we found families, we found children. we found people from this neighborhood and beyond, everyone coming to this place to be here to say that they were able to share in the moment of
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what was happening here of such magnitude that's just incalculable. just a small gathering tonight but it's all growing and it's going to keep growing as the days and weeks continue here in south africa and around the world. >> ron allen for us in south africa on this saturday, ron, thank you. without the inspiration of nelson mandela, there quite possibly would not have been a president barack obama. president obama talked about the influence that nelson mandela had on him shortly after the announcement that the former south african president had died. >> my very first political action, the first thing i ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against apartheid. the day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears. >> from one leader who transformed a nation in the world to another who is still carving out his own legacy,
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jeiloni cobb account author of "the substance of hope." joshua dubois is a spiritual adviser to president obama. president obama mentioned hope in his remarks on thursday. hope, of course, a major part of his 2008 campaign. how exactly did nelson mandela beyond what the president just said there, how did he shape president obama's politics? >> well, let's start with this. when mr. obama mentioned he began his public career at an apartheid protest, he was speaking for himself. but he was also speaking for a generation of people who'd come after age and seen in south africa an analog to what we saw in the united states in the 1950s and 1960s. that movement that mr. obama tapped into, when we said, yes we can, and the emphasis on hope and change and so on, in many ways, he was calling back to
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that age of idealism, the issues that we see in south africa are capable of being change and in fact we can bring that change about. >> joshua, mandela wrote a letter to president obama that was given to him shortly before his inauguration ceremony back in 2009. that letter read in part, your presidency brings hope of new beginnings in the relations between nations, that the challenges we all face, be they economic, the environment or in combatting poverty or the search for peace will be addressed with a new spirit of openness and accommodation. there is a special excitement on our continent today, mr. president, in the knowledge that you have such strong personal ties with africa. we share in that excitement and pride. what did those words mean to president obama as he was getting ready to take the oath of office, joshua? >> i'm sure they meant a great deal. there was a serious personal connection between the two of them. there was a meeting they had in 2005 at a hotel in washington, a
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real tender moment. there's a beautiful photo from that from that moment. but as jelani said, if this man after 27 years in prison could bring down the institution of apartheid and become president of the same country that imprisoned him, anyone can do anything when faced with challenges, including an african-american man become k president of the united states. i think that broader symbolism meant a lot to president obama. >> there have been for several years now of course a number of comparisons made between nelson mandela and president obama. "the washington post" characterized how the president in the past has dealt with those comparisons saying in part, quote, the american president regularly shied from direct comparisons with mr. mandela. mr. obama often noted privately and publicly that his sacrifices would never compare to mr. mandela's. aide to mr. obama said he was uncomfortable when people drew parallels between them as often
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as they did. this is from "the new york time times", not "the washington post." i apologize. how fair are those comparisons? they are inevitable and now we're going to continue to read and hear more about them over the next few days and weeks. how fair are they? >> it depends on which mr. mandela you're talking about. >> and which mr. obama you're talking about. >> one of the things that we talk about is mr. mandela as a tremendous humanitarian leader and so on. and he really was. but he was also a politician. and he also had to hold together a coalition, find the way to steer his country forward as the first black representative in that democratically elected government. in that way, they do have a great deal in common. you do see a very nervous and frightened group of white south africans wondering exactly what his presidency meant for them. and in some ways, you saw the same thing when mr. obama was on the verge of being elected. one other thing they have in
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common, we talk about mr. mandela serving 27 years in prison but we don't necessarily talk about why and what were the core issues there. they were dedicated to the premise of one person, one vote. so without that 1965 voting rights act, which is a direct product of the civil rights movement, mr. obama's presidency does not exist. they're bound together by that same issue and the activism that was required in order to make -- >> that's a good point. >> in addition to the comparisons between the two of them, which is important, i think the other remarkable thing is the thread of liberty that connects them across space and time. the abolitionist improvement inspired thorough who inspired gandhi who inspired mandela. it's remarkable to see this thread of liberty that really comes full circle in the life of mandela and how he relates to barack obama. >> joshua, what if anything do we know about nelson mandela's
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faith? was he a spiritual man? >> he was a spiritual man. he was a christian. and that was sort of a motivating part of his life. and there's been a fair amount written on that, especially over the last few days. but i think he really saw his faith as a motivating force for his work in the public square, not just as something he keeps inside his own soul but something that he felt compelled to act for justice in the world. >> joshua, jelani, thank you. >> thank you for having me. >> you'll now know who i am. i am a yankee! >> yankees fans, you've got another one. much more on the life of nelson mandela, the man who of course became a movement. we're going to look back at his lasting legacy on music, on movies, on sports and more. also ahead, what city is going to become the next detroit?
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emotions ran high this week when detroit became the largest city in u.s. history eligible for bankruptcy. detroit is unable to pay its $18 billion debt. that includes billions promised to pay workers' pensions, which are now at risk of being cut. donald smith worked for the city of detroit for some 29 years. >> all i'm asking is that somebody give me what i earned.
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i'm not asking for a handout. >> now other ailing communities are looking inward and hoping they don't meet the same ends. cook county, illinois, which includes the city of chicago, is the second largest county in the country. it's also in danger of following detroit's lead, many say. moody's downgraded cook county's credit rating in august partly because of unfunded pension liabilities that are 382% more than the county's net revenues. are chicago area workers in the same dangers as those in detroit? bru bridget gainer is from chicago. let's start there. what steps are you guys taking to make sure your county does not become the next detroit? >> craig, first of all, thanks for having me on. two quick points about why chicago and cook county are in a different place than detroit.
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detroit has hat dramatically lower rates of property tax. about 50%. in cook county, the average is 96%. that's the fund that funds the pension fund as well as the lifeblood of city services. secondly, for a generation, detroit missed this opportunity of realizing that the real enemy isn't the suburbs and it's not the corporate community. the opposition and the competition is london, tokyo, sao paulo. we need to think like a region. chicago and cook county started doing that a decade ago. specifically your question on pensions, detroit makes anyone who didn't think that this was really a crisis wake up to reality. and there's been a lot of concentration on what should the benefits be, people are living longer, should we raise taxes, how should that balance out between taxpayers and employees? but to be honest, what no one's talking about and the real ticking time bomb is the
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governance of these funds. in detroit as well as in cook county and in chicago, the funds are made up of a majority of either employees or local elected officials and there's no qualifications about financial expertise. so you have -- >> are you saying that the pension funds are being mismanaged? is that part of the problem? >> i think what you look at is we're asking employees -- in cook county, 80% of our pension fund board of trustees are employees and there's no qualification for financial oversight. we're asking them to go toe to toe with goldman sachs and blackstone. there was a pension in cook county before 2008. we were 90% funded. we have never recovered from the investment losses that we incurred during the financial crisis. when you look at the cook county fund, the city fund and others, more than half of what goes into that fund in any given year is investment returns. it's not employee contributions. it's not from the employer. so if we're not managing that in the right way, we're in trouble
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and we're asking employees who may be great at teaching or being a jail guard or being an administrator to take on a task that really beyond them. >> how many people would be affected if cook county does in fact start to cut into the pensions of former city workers, county workers? >> well, there's 15,000 people in cook county that are currently -- 15,000 retirees and 15,000 employees. that's a much health iier ratio. but that's a problem across the country. city budgets have shrunk. there are fewer active employees but the retirees are living longer. in the city of chicago, there are more retirees than active employees. that's something that's unsustainable. we saw it with the auto companies. >> the there was this emotional editorial in "the detroit free press" this week hitting rick snyder pretty hard. snyder says the city must be
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rebuilt, that michigan is the comeback state and that detroit is an integral part of michigan. yet when it comes to pledging to help in any kind of meaningful, tangible way, snyder dodges no bailout for detroit, no financial help for the city, not even for pensioners already in or on the edge of poverty. it comes with a lot of pain, with a lot of outrage from government workers as well. how do you balance that? >> look, that's a great question. and i think the key thing is something that was referred to in that editorial. the average pension at cook county is $34,000 a year. no one is getting rich being a public employee retiree. and at least in our case and i think it's similar in detroit, 80% of our retirees stay in cook county. you're talking about cutting the income, it's a limited income and these people are still in your region. they're spending money, paying rent, doing those things that make the economy healthy. it's why i focus on this issue
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of governance. we can't go back to '08 and change the past but we can change the future. and so the balance has to be that if people are already retired, you need to be fair. you cannot make draconian cuts. their ability to work and make up for that income is limited. what we have to focus on is how we're going to ensure that we're not having this conversation in another ten years. >> bridget gainer, thank you so much. hope you come back. >> thanks. i would love to. speaking of detroit, check this out. the ford mustang got quite the facelift there. the latest version of the iconic sports car was unveiled in deerborn, michigan. try to fit that under the christmas tree. you're watching msnbc. [ female announcer ] ladies and gentlemen i'm here to say a few words
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metronorth railroad has until tuesday to comply with new regulations from federal transportation officials. the railroad has been ordered to overhaul its signal system and provide two operators on trains where major speed restrictions are in place. those new rules come after last sunday's derailment that killed four. i'm craig melvin. good saffron. here's a look at the other top stories making news. secretary of defense chuck hagel made an unannounced trip to afghanistan today. he met with afghanistan's defense minister who reassured hagel that the security deal with the united states will be signed in a timely manner. and remember this video of a chaotic traffic stop in new mexico last october? a woman was stopped for speeding after she got into an argument with the police officer. she drives off. there's a police chase that ensues. that ends with the officer firing several rounds at her minivan that was filled with children.
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that officer last month, 12-year veteran, has now been fired. and jay-z leads the pack for next year's grammys. he received nine nominations. they were announced at last night's grammy nominations concert. justin timberlake, and macklemore was right behind him. a brutal winter storm is packing a punch across much of the country today. the storm has already killed at least 12. travel has become quite dangerous with roads being covered with sheets of ice in many places. the weather channel's kyla grogan joins me live now. where is that storm right now and where is it headed next? >> i have to tell you, it's unfortunately headed to the same places already coated with ice. tonight, little rock you're right on the edge of that. you could see more ice tonight. memphis, you as well. places like kentucky and tennessee and then it tracks towards the northeast.
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now we're talking a wintry mix in washington, d.c. so this is going to be dangerous. we could see significant power outages with this. and many of the offices of emergency management are already preparing for that and hoping that everybody at home is getting prepared, too. by monday this storm moves into the northeast. we're going to see some snowflakes flying in places like boston. we expect that wintry mix to make its way into new york city. that i-95 corridor on monday, not going to be pretty. this is where we are going to see accumulation likely for this ice. virginia, very tough time for you. in the area in the lighter purple, as it works up into pennsylvania, even new york state, possible sunday into monday, you will also see ice accumulati accumulation. we know what that does. brings power lines down, makes it impossible to get around. snow accumulations, 5 to 8 inches in upstate new york. 3 to 5 up in northern new england. and 1 to 3 in places like boston and of course in pennsylvania as well. but this is going to be a mess and that's the big story.
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>> here in new york, it seemed as if before now, the winter to a certain extent had been fairly mild, no? >> yeah, but you know what? here's the thing. we're just getting started. officially, winter just started a little bit ago. we have to get prepared for this. this is the thing, people need to start thinking about this. do you have your flashlight batteries? are you ready if the lights go out? do you have a heat source? these are the things you have to think about. and we hate to see a tough winter for everybody. but if we have to start out this way, we just have to get in the mindset to make sure we're staying safe. and stay off the roads. that's the number one thing to keep you safe. you have to stay informed and if the ice is out there, stay off the roads. we see so many accidents. we've already seen ten deaths from our other winter storm that just made its way across the country. >> and the ten deaths, that number went up within the past 10, 15 minutes. we're up to 12 deaths so far. >> better to take your time or stay off the roads for a while. >> weather channel's kyla
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grogan, thank you for that update. we continue to watch the weather. we also continue to watch everything that's happening in south africa. lots more to get to. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] when mr. clean realized the way to handle bigger, tougher messes was better leverage, he created a magic eraser with an attachable handy grip.
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nelson. joined live now by chris witherspo witherspoon. chris, here's the thing, in the '80s and '90s, these concerts for mandela were huge. have we seen any other modern-day figure that inspired that intersection between politics and pop culture? >> i don't think so. it makes sense, his story, he's one of those heroes that don't come around too often. what he stood for, what he did for all those years in prison, keeping his head up and keeping the presence for the people of south africa, won't happen again. pop culture, hollywood, we love a hero. and nelson mandela is the perfect hero. >> and it wasn't just music. how did mandela use sports to help people of different races? >> yes, he loved sports. he said that soccer could unite the world. and during the world cup in south africa, he talked about it. he really wanted people to get
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out, play sports, be athletic and come together and see if you were on different sides of the fence with that ball, with that sport, you can come together and see a similarity. >> he was very instrumental in getting the world cup to south africa. we also know he was a big rugby fan as well. his daughters apparently learned about his death at the london premiere of this new film about their father "long walk to freedom." what effect has his death had on the movie's rollout at all. >> right now, it's only in four theaters. two in new york and two in los angeles. they're still planning on holding the film for wide release until christmas. but the movie is amazing and it really is this film that gives you closure, if you're a mandela fan or somebody who wanted to learn about his life. it's going to bring the story to even the younger audience that might not be familiar with what he did and what he stood for. it's amazing to see this man's life captured on film.
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we see him from the time he was in a tribe in rural africa to his imprisonment to becoming to first black president in south africa. >> sounds like you've seen it. >> i have. i interviewed the cast. it's an amazing film. >> historically, what is something like this do to a film's run at the box office? >> i asked the weinstein company are they expecting the film to get bigger numbers? right now, it's only in four theaters so the numbers are staying the same. but i think at christmastime, you will see droves of people come out when it has a national release, a big, wide push. people will come out and want to see this film to honor nelson mandela, to honor his legacy and pay tribute to him. that's what this film does. >> chris witherspoon, always good to see you, thank you. >> thank you. >> with more now on the cultural and political influence of nelson mandela, i want to bring in the "brain trust." esther arma, dana milbank with
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"the washington post" and gail lamont. esther, let me start with you. "the new york times" talks about the chasm between young south africans and their predecessors. talked to an 18-year-old girl who said, quote, at the end of the day, africans is just a language. such feelings are common among members of her generation, known as the born frees because they were born after the end of apartheid or just before it ended and are too young to have many memories of it. how do young south africans, how do they view nelson mandela versus their parents or their grandparents? >> it's interesting because it's actually reflective of the issue between the civil rights
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generation and the young generation here in the united states of america. they took a vote for a people who bled for it versus a generation who were born having it. that's similar to how the generations in south africa have spoken about when it comes to mandela. for young south africans, that is the point of movements. the point is they do not inherit the brutality and the trauma their parents had to suffer. the journey for them is to build on the political freedom of nelson mandela and the movement that he was part of created and work on economic freedom. still deep, deep economic inequality. >> and the language itself, for a long time, this was one of the major issues of the '60s and '70s. that was viewed as the language of the oppressor. for this 18-year-old to say, it's not that big a deal -- i
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want to pose something to you, gail. esther mentioned the economic divide in south africa. we also know that there are major labor issues, nearly three dozen minors who were shot and killed over the protests there. we know that corruption is still a major problem in south africa today. gail, how wide is the chasm between the south africa that nelson mandela envisioned and the reality on the ground today in that country? >> i think the gap is very real. but it's certainly smaller than what it would be without a nelson mandela. i think that's really the question. there are huge economic issues. almost half the country is said to be at or below poverty line, according to some of the data. but if you look at the gains in terms of this country that is moving forward, that has a vibrant economy and that has a governance system that is the envy of many countries not just in the region but countries that are emerging from other kinds of
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transitions, it is a role model in terms of transitions it's made from its past to its present. now you see a young generation talking about a future that builds on what nelson mandela and his words made possible. i think what is so moving about him is that he took the part of the divine that's within each of us, the best parts of our humanity, it wasn't a touchstone, it was a compass. >> we're showing our viewers a live look there in johannesburg, as you can see. the left side of your screen, that is one of the many makeshift memorials that has popped up in south africa. about 10:40 at night. but it's not stopping the hundreds who have gathered there to pay their respects. this is two or three days now. dana, in this time of remembering mandela, some lawmakers and some regular folks as well are having a pretty tough time reconciling some of
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the opinions that they had of him not that long ago, during the cold war, both the state and defense departments labeled mandela's political party a terrorist group. mandela's name was on the u.s. terrorism watch list up until five years ago when he came back in 2008, he actually had to get some special paperwork. even condoleezza rice said it was a bit embarrassing. handful of sitting lawmakers voted against freeing mandela. when did the shift on perception of nelson mandela -- when did that shift happen in d.c.? >> i think when it happened for america and for the world and i think a lot of that was going back to the pop culture idea that you presented in the beginning of this in the 1980s, the african national congress was on the terrorist list because they did for a time believe in violence. our government is slow to do a variety of things. it's not that they would be slow
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to catch up with that reality. but it was really a 1980s phenomenon when he became a common household name and then around 1990 when he became this lionized, larger-than-life figure. >> it's important that we start to make sure there's an accurate narrative about that part of the struggle. it is not that nelson mandela and the anc believed in violence. it is a people against whom the government was waging war took the action of self-defense. that's an internationally recognized strategy -- >> they took responsibility for violent acts. maybe we should put it that way. >> that's not what you said initially and it's really dangerous to keep perpetuating this articulation.
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nobody ever declared de clerk a terrorist. that's not what happened. what they did was to label the response to the violence. and that is dangerous because it's arguing and it's saying that mandela who by the way never renounced violence -- in the 27 years he was in jail, they said to him, renounce violence and we will free you and he said, i will not because that manifesto said, we have two choices, submit or die. and they said, we will never submit. >> we're going to take a quick break. when we come back, minimum wage workers in more than 100 cities protested and demanded a livable salary. but is raising pay the best way to really combat poverty in this country? the "brain trust" takes a breather and comes back on the other side. you should, too. and we own the. it's a stationery and gifts store. anything we purchase for the paper cottage goes on our ink card. so you can manage your business expenses and access them online
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demanding a federal minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour. >> i work hard. when i get my paycheck at the end of the week, it's not enough to survive. it's like an insult. >> is this really the way to help cure poverty in america? the "brain trust" is back. gayle, let me start with you. $15 a wage is too high, says the industry, saying prices would go up, fewer folks would be hired. we just hit 7% unemployment last month. fast-food industry employs a lot of people. how real is the concern that if the minimum wage goes up, so will unemployment? >> i think the concern is real, but the question has always been what is the actual economic impact of raising these wages? and basically in pure and true economic finish, you can come up with an answer that ends at both ends of the spectrum. one that it has little impact and others argue that it would have a huge impact in terms of
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lowering the number of jobs available to people and cutting people's hours and be detrime detriment detrimental. and the president's speech this weekend was trying to turn this zero sum discussion that if i win, you lose into, this is good for everyone. a growing economy that is actually lifting both the poor and the middle class toward the increasingly prosperous 1% is in everybody's interest. pew numbers came out showing income inequality in this number not seen since 1928. that's a very telling year. for me, this is definitely a personal one. i grew up in a community of single moms and my mother actually lied about our address my entire elementary school career so that i could go to a better elementary school in our neighborhood. and so i think this is personal for a lot of people. >> dana, political feasibility here, what's the likelihood that the minimum wage gets raised -- forget $15 an hour, $10 an hour,
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$12 an hour. >> i think it will be raised. and it should be. if you look in historical patterns, adjusted for inflation, it's fairly low. that's not to say it's going to happen right now. you could not to say it's going happen right now. not much of anything in this congress is happening and particularly difficult time to make the case because the economy has been so weak and inevitabilivitably there's trad rising wages and jobs and won't want to predict it happens in the shorter term. >> the brain trust on this saturday, big thanks to all of you for being with me. thank you. is nelson mandela's life, is his legacy already being hijacked and perverted? how to make sure history accurately remembers him, next. . it's not the "getting blindsided by limits" card. it's the no-game-playing, no-earning-limit-having,
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unfortunate when truly transformational people die. we allow the lives and legacies to be perverted and hijacked. we say nothing when the memories are distorted when what they say and stood for is twisted or ignored. when the prisoner turned president turned peace symbol died this week, tributes started. mandela was remembered for winning the democratic election, celebrated for never, ever appearing publicly bitter after a racist regime robbed him of nearly three decades of his life. but something else started to happen. this week rick santorum compared the fight against apartheid to the fight to repeal and replace obama care. that's a ridiculous comparison for reasons too numerous to mention. we heard and read from some that he was a communist and a tryst, the first assertion has never
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been proven and even if it was, so what? he palled around with castro and ka da if i and there was a time when we did, too. the second label that he was a terrorist, well, this's a label that we gave him. our government placed him on a terror watch list where he remained until 2008 after he'd fin initialled his one term as president and also after he won the nobel peace prize. true, he did not believe that civil disobedience is always enough. it is also true that the role in planning attacks that originally led to the terrorist label was never definitively proven. ronald reagan and margaret thatcher didn't support keeping him in prison in the '80s because he was terrorist. they wanted him to stay locked up on tiny robbin island because the government decided to back the team that hated the commies, too. what's also been interesting this week is how little coverage
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something else has gotten. nelson mandela spoke truth to power, not just in his country but ours, too. he called us out over the iraq invasion in 2003. guess what. he was right. we were wrong. here's a thought. as we remember nelson mandela's life's work and reflect on his contributions to democracy and humanity, let's make sure history's chapter includes a full and accurate account. that's our show. thanks so much for watching on this saturday. i'll be back next week on saturday. tomorrow stay tuned for a special airing of chris matthews interview with president obama. first, though, "disrupt with karen finney" with a really great guest off the top. have a fantastic saturday afternoon. i have low testosterone. there, i said it.
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hello disrupters, thanks for tuning in. i'm karen finney and like president obama we are talking about equality, taking on did gop's fake war on christmas and remembering the man who fought for peace, equality and reconciliation around the world. >> he no longer belongs to us. he belongs to the ages. >> what do we want in this country is a nonracial democracy. we do not think in terms of color at all. >> the biggest issue that i see out in the horizon is how do we make sure an economy works for everybody? >> the greatest single challenge facing our globalized world is to combat the eradicate its